It would be fair to say there have been several surprising managerial departures this term, both in the Premier League and Championship. Brian McDermott’s recent dismissal from Reading has caused uproar in the industry, just like Nigel Adkins’ departure from Southampton did earlier this year.
However, for the purposes of this guest piece, I’m going to concentrate on the situation at the bottom of the Championship. It could be said that it has been one of the tightest relegation situations for years, with the whole of the bottom half at risk of the drop this season. Out of the seven teams that find themselves at the bottom, an astonishing five have replaced their manager this term. Taking this into account, I’ll now analyse each one of these teams and conclude whether or not their decisions will prove to be fruitful.
After leading Huddersfield to promotion last season, there were certainly a lot of surprised faces when Simon Grayson was given his marching orders back in January. Admittedly, the Terriers had embarked on a twelve game winless run, but many still viewed the decision as premature.
Town took their time in appointing a replacement, with Mark Robins eventually being handed the post after being poached from Coventry. After managing to keep Barnsley in the division a couple of years ago and following some superb work with Coventry in League One, many viewed this as a very good appointment. However, the club have struggled since his switch and remain in 18th, while they have suffered some heavy and embarrassing defeats in the process.
Whether or not they made the correct decision in dismissing Grayson is always going to be debatable. Still, even though his replacement hasn’t started brilliantly, I believe that Huddersfield will survive this term as Robins’ ideas slowly start to creep into the team.
One team that I’m almost certain made the correct choice was Ipswich. After taking over at Portman Road in 2011, Paul Jewell never really initiated any sort of progress and the Tractor Boys have been lingering in the lower reaches of the Championship ever since his appointment.
Mick McCarthy was the man charged with saving the club and it could be said that he is another manager who will probably have been hoping for more after his appointment at the start of November. Still, he has pulled the club out of the relegation zone and judging by his past successes at other clubs, I see this as a very shrewd move by the Ipswich board.
Out of all of the clubs that have sacked a manager, Barnsley have probably experienced the most progress. There were few optimists after assistant manager David Flitcroft replaced Keith Hill in January, with many under the belief that Barnsley wouldn’t really change their style with half of the management team still in charge. However, Flitcroft has revitalized the Tykes and led them to nine wins from sixteen matches. Unfortunately for them, this has correlated with some excellent form from other teams around them, but they still sit just above the drop zone with a game in hand. Additionally, the appointment has brought passion back into the fan base and therefore, this can only be seen as a positive move by Barnsley.
Considering the fact that Wolves were playing Premier League football last year, the position they find themselves in is incredible to say the least. This is a case where a change in manager really hasn’t worked, with Dean Saunders masterminding just one win in eleven games since taking over from Stale Solbakken. His predecessor wasn’t exactly a roaring success at Molineux, but few felt that he would lead them to the path of League One with the club occupying 18th spot upon his departure. The appointment of Saunders caused a few raised eyebrows at the time and just like last year, where Wolves completely embarrassed themselves with their drawn-out process of appointing Terry Connor, they look to have failed on another appointment.
Bristol City (24th)
Even though Bristol City are rooted to the foot of the division, it has to be said that survival is still within their grasp as just two points keep them adrift of safety. This is an example of where a club simply had to take action, with Derek McInnes never really making an impact after taking over last season. The club were slowly in free fall and had they not replaced McInnes, I feel they would be preparing for League One already.
Sean O’Driscoll has been the man to take over and he has been responsible for a huge spark in form, mainly at home. I’m still not convinced that O’Driscoll will keep them in the division, as I regard him as a manager who has a long-term vision that may take time to implement at Ashton Gate. However, even if they are relegated, this could still prove to be a very good appointment for the Robins and they will have an excellent chance of returning immediately to this level.
Liam is a big fan of European football and regularly pens his opinion on all of the major leagues. He also runs his own website, which can be found at bonusbetting.org.uk.
Featured image was taken from adifferentleague.co.uk